Lutherans Discuss 'Suffering Creation' in Tanzania

Representatives of member churches of the global Lutheran World Federation began on Wednesday their six-day meeting in Tanzania, where climate change and its effects on Africa's tallest mountain will be a central focus.

The meeting, which is being held June 25 to 30, will take place under the theme of "Melting Snow on Mount Kilimanjaro: A Witness of a Suffering Creation." Members will present and discuss the mountain's melting snow due to global warming.

In 2007, a similar but ecumenical meeting was held about Mt. Kenya's and Kilimanjaro's melting ice caps. Christian leaders had expressed concerns about the detrimental effects of industrialization in developed countries on ecology, especially in Africa.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania – Africa's second largest LWF member church and the world's fourth largest Lutheran church – hosted the 2007 Mt. Kilimanjaro melting ice cap meeting and is hosting this year's LWF Council meeting as well.

The LWF council is the governing body that meets every 12 to 18 months between Assemblies. The Assembly is the LWF's highest governing body that meets every six years. The 11th Assembly will be held July 20-27, 2010 in Stuttgart, Germany, and hosted by the Evangelical Church in Wuerttemberg.

Also on the agenda at the six-day meeting are a plenary presentation by LWF President the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, who is also the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; a "Plenary on Africa" where former Tanzanian Prime Minister Frederick Tluway Sumaye will deliver the keynote address; and a presentation of the 11th Assembly Planning Committee on the progress of the conference to be held in 2010.

Prior to the Council meeting, participants visited the work of LWF member churches and Department for World Service in neighboring Kenya and Rwanda.

LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran tradition. It currently has 140 member churches in 78 countries, with a total membership of over 68.3 million.